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Please don't tell book answer
Please don't tell Buddhist explain
Please give answers from your true experience

Buying car is happiness ?
Buying bike is happiness ?
Buying home is happiness?
Achieving government job is happiness?
Happiness is dependent on something?


I think
Happiness is dependent on something.
Today I am sad because I have no six pack and big muscle
I am sad because I have no desire job
I am sad because I have no money

Happiness is suffering

  • I’m gonna respond to this with detailed breakdown of the subtle nittigritties of this space – Alex S Oct 24 at 13:04
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    I'm new here, but is this on topic? On any other SE site this would be closed as opinion based. – DJClayworth Oct 24 at 15:30
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – ChrisW Oct 24 at 17:41

10 Answers 10

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I guess there aren't many Buddhist monks on this site at the moment, who could tell you from their own experience whether they're happy without a car, home, or job.

I don't have a car. I decided when I was young that a car is more trouble and expense, to buy and to own, than I want.

I do like my bicycle. I fell off it two days ago, and had to go get the little wound cleaned out by a doctor. I was still happy about that, though.

One of the sources or causes of happiness is doing the right thing, a moral or skilful or kind thing -- see this topic and its answers: What is the basis?

"Morality" for a house-holder is complicated -- perhaps more complicated and less satisfactory than it is for a monk, I don't know, the suttas describe the house-holder's life as "dusty and confining" -- but food, clothing, maybe shelter, medicine are all considered requisites or necessities even for a monk, I think it's probably moral to participate in that as a layperson. You're supposed to be generous too when possible, and material possession (e.g. food) might be necessary for "living the holy life", but are not enough -- so Buddhism teaches e.g. wisdom and so on too.

I could quote references but you asked me not to, so.

Buddhism also warns that craving (desire) is a cause of suffering -- and that delighting in things causes attachment, which again leads to suffering. There's further doctrine about that, like "how is possible to desire enlightenment?". Almost the very first bit of dhamma the Buddha taught was of a "middle way" between the extremes of hedonism (sensual pleasure-seeking) and asceticism -- "middle way" meaning "not one extreme nor the other".

An iPhone, I don't know -- I think of it as "a chore" not "happiness", some people like their phone I guess. My mobile is a cheapest-available "flip phone", which I'm happy to use if I want to make a phone call, I have a computer at home. I buy a new computer every few years, when I have to, for my job -- when my previous/current computer becomes too unusable. Using a computer can be time-consuming, I cut off web sites where I seem to be wasting my time.

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Small successes on worldly or spiritual paths towards wellbeing make me happy. Wholesome happiness seems like a good purpose to me.

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Happiness is pleasant feelings.

Unhappiness is painful feelings.

Early childhood experiences condition us to generate painful feelings and pleasant feelings depending on the situation and act in certain ways (by age 5 humans reach 90% of their adult brain size).

Negative unconscious impulses caused by bad memories that generate painful feelings are one of the main roots of all faults.

The highest happiness I've personally experienced is when concentrating on eliminating negative unconscious impulses, this type of energy goes from my forehead area, above to the top of my head, then if I keep concentrating even above that, then I feel full of energy, confidence, calm, fearless, angerless, sorrowless, a strange type of extreme enjoyment, unshakable.

Growing up I initially thought material things would bring happiness. But then one day I thought in my mind "even after gaining desired material things I would still experience anger, fear, sorrow, and other painful feelings, and I would still eventually die anyway so what's so great about it?".

After experiencing higher states of happiness I started thinking of gaining luxurious material things unneeded for survival as like a waste of time boring just like useless toys.

When people are happy and satisfied they naturally have no cravings but not in the painful way many people seem to think of suppressing a desire.

As long as unconscious impulses generating painful feelings exist the individual will continue to experience pain eventually at some time.

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According to the dharma, yes, happiness caused by material gain is a form of suffering. The iPhone is a perfect example; consider the annoyance and discontent one feels, for example, when the battery wears down, or when one wanders away from the geography of the service coverage. Consider the greed and dissatisfaction one feels when a new phone version is released on the market; the disappointment and inferiority one feels if one cannot afford to buy.

Consider also the foolishness and time-wasting potential of many uses of smartphones and Internet technology. There is the potential of addiction to the device, addiction to social media, addiction to gaming, addiction to pornography, things that cause one to forego sleep, neglect ones duties and relationships. All forms of addiction are an example of what is called "attachment" in Buddhism. Consider also the cyber bullying, rumor mongering and "cancel culture". See the scams, the clickbait and extremist propaganda.

Observe the Web's cesspool of buggy websites and apps, themselves evidence of a lack of assiduousness, from developers lacking enlightened wisdom. Or perhaps the fault lies with companies' insufficient development budgets, or unrealistic delivery dates; this suggests avarice, stinginess, and a lack of right livelihood practiced by owners and managers. Not every software flaw is evidence of poor character; but if we lived in a perfect world, then those flaws would be fixed.

It may not seem like much; the non-Buddhist may consider that such forms of suffering are trite and insignificant; far outweighed by the delight and usefulness of purchasing and using a smartphone, or other material goods. This is called "enchantment" in Buddhism. But more important than the gain or loss of a smartphone, for example, or the delight or suffering caused by having one or not having one, is the opportunity costs. Even if some product is an unmixed blessing for a person, with no noticeable downsides, one could be blinded to the even better worldly blessings to be had. Who knows? One might have become an award-winning scholar, a famous artist or a wealthy entrepreneur, had one spent one's free time and discretionary budget differently.

At a fundamental level, in Buddhism, one does not desire happiness or blessings, generally speaking; not in this world, and not in the hereafter. One does not desire anything at all, except peace of mind. When has one attained peace of mind? It's a tall order. If one has no fear of aging and death, deceives no one, is willing to give away all one possesses, has no ill will towards anyone at all, including malicious wrong-doers, and believes that everybody else is equally capable of reaching such a state of spiritual maturity, then one has attained it.

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Happiness is acceptance of what is.

You probably already know that but don’t live it.

For me, ironically, happiness has been slowly gaining in the world while diminishing my desire to gain in spirit.

I wanted muscles and a six pack. I started taking steps to get them, always desiring them in my mind. I got them. Nothing changed. Literally, nothing. Ok maybe one or two people noticed, but it’s shocking how little people notice or care. And internally - my mind with all it’s criticisms was still there and focused on new objects to criticize the minute I got them.

Could say the same story about women, money, etc. all with the same outcome.

In the end, happiness has proven to be accepting the moment; living it, just it with no desire of anything in past or future. It takes a while to achieve this, and I’m not fully there yet I’ll be honest. Sitting helps me with this. I do it about 20 minutes a day now. But I started with just 5 minutes when I could. This helps with watching thoughts, feelings, and worldly events as they come and go. And when you see all that changes, you also see what is constant. What is constant in life is where true happiness lies.

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    Bro you are give great answer .. you are experience right – Bhupendra Rajput Nov 5 at 11:36
  • @BhupendraRajput just keep seeking – ironicaldiction Nov 5 at 11:48
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Happiness does not come from the objects that we are attached to. The happiness I get from eatijng a candy bar arises from within me... it does not live in the candy bar. If the happiness did exist in the candy bar, then everyone would become automatically happy when they came into contact with this candy bar. This does not happen, people have apparent preferences, some like the candy bar and experience happiness when they come in contact with it, some are neutral about it, experiencing neither happiness nor suffering, and some experience disgust.

This demonstrates that the individual who experiences happiness already has everything they need inside them to be happy before they come into contact with the candy bar, and so on for all emotional states. Likewise, the suffering that arises out of not being in contact with the candy bar has nothing to do with the candy bar itself, nor does is this suffering dependent on happiness alone. In order for the suffering of unhappiness, one has to be attached to the candy bar in such a way that there is no happiness without it. This is an attitude, it is in the approach to the candy bar or any other object of desire.

Since we have everything needed to be happy inside us before we come into contact with the object of desire, or pleasant experience, then it goes to follow that we ought to be able to train the mind, to train ourselves to experience happiness before, during, and after contact with a pleasant or unpleasant sense object. In other words, we can cultivate a more effective perspective.

TL;DR: The suffering is not happiness itself. It is in the attachment to the object of desire. It is the trick of the mind that sais there is no happiness without the object.

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In my opinion for the unenlightened human being, the basic life's requisites must be given (shelter, food, water, cleaning, sense of safety etc) in order to start practising a good life. Notice that I am speaking here of practising & not just getting something from the external world.

With all those things you mentioned there are several issues: we get used to them, they may change due to various causes & conditions, we might not derive as much pleasure as we hoped we'll get..

And most importantly: Although they affect the mind, the mind itself isn't trained. Well, in a sense it gets trained to be more dependent upon outside things & distractions.

The less dependent happiness is, usually the better. The happiness of the mind that stems from an ethical life style & from other mental practises will over time internally build up, which leads to an inner stability &, what people might call, well-being. Not to mention that those pleasures have lesser disadvantages then, let's say anger or greed/lust; so they inherently feel better.

Although you didn't want to have a Buddhist response I will still give you one because this is a Buddhist forum. The Dhammapada states:

If by giving up small pleasures great happiness is to be found, the wise should give up small pleasures seeing (the prospect of) great happiness.

Nevertheless, for ordinary people it's not necessary to give up all sensual pleasures, but to find a balance, develop kindness, compassion, equanimity, generosity, & living a meaningful live which includes a life project that is outside of one's own selfish desires, i.e., animal activism, helping other people in need or even ordinary little day-by-day acts of kindness, you get the point.

Mental happiness & "character happiness" is always with you. On the other hand we see a lot of rich, famous & successful people who are depressed & commited suicide.

You might now ask why? Well, because these pleasures often do not target the root problem (the mind) directly, therefore one chases these things again & again, but one is left empty.

You must ask yourself whether these things you mentioned can give you really that much well-being.

Are there people with a big car & six pack who aren't suffering? Do you know people who have everything the media & our minds promises us make us happy, but still left unhappy?

Well-being should be seen as a skill you develop, & by letting go of unwholesome thoughts & actions, as well as having a correct view of yourself, others & the world.

If you think that you, others, conditions or the world MUST BE IN CERTAIN WAY, you'll certainly will feel 'extreme' emotions because it stems from rigid demands (must, have to, got tos).

If you however stick to a strong wish, preference, desire to want something, but you're always flexible enough to see that it's not "life-necessary", but only a convenience that enriches your life, then you're still experiencing emotions negative in tone (sadness, annoyance, concern, sorrow, self-compassion instead of condemnation) but they're helping you to think clearly & to assess the situation properly as well as to behave adaptively!

It's like if you're in a relationship and your girlfriend is super clingy & jealous. She might think "I must have a partner in my life which must never have another woman around him, but if I lose him or he is with another woman, it's a catastrophy OR else I am worthless/he is bad/she is bad/the world is bad, which are all over-generalizations, which misses our human fallibility & live's complexity of good, bad & neutral aspects.

Hope I could've helped you.

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Happiness is acceptance of what is.

Rejection of what is can only cause pain. For example; If I reject the existence of a wall, and try to walk through it, I will experience pain.

So; To be happy; Accept what is.

You can, however, change what will be.

This is my life experience :)

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You are perfectly right ,if happiness is dependent on somethings then to acquire it you must have somethings.Its simple mathematical equation somethings/happiness =resultant happiness.

when there are alot of somethings, happiness is alot when they decrease happiness decreases and suffering is the difference .Buddha discovered that somethings is not a constant and is impermanent, you get then lose you iphone,so he just removed it from the whole equation ,and there you have it,happiness .Going deeper than that he also discovered that the resultant happiness that we think we have because of somethings by itself is also not constant because happiness in itself is infinite & anything divided by infinity large or small, constant or not, is still going towards zero ,your new iphone over long time becomes boring to have and maybe you want the newer version.

On the experiential level this can only happen when one is centered in witnessing all that is happening as happening and not attaching to it so it doesn't become something that happiness depends on.

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Happiness is being able to control the six senses so that they will keep you in a less disturbed position i.e neither being sad or happy too much..!

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